Whether it is the mommy wars, political issues or business competition, people seem all too willing to tear others down and far less often do we see people striving to build each other up; but I do see the building trend growing overall and it excites me. The industry of in-home childcare is no different. There is a lot of crossing of titles, blurred lines of responsibilities and confusion and misconceptions about who does what and in the process of trying to sort it out, it can get frustrating and it can sometimes get ugly. So we can be part of the problem, or we can be part of the solution.
We at Newborn Care Solutions want to be just that: A big part of the solution.
My husband, a pretty wise guy, has often quoted Jim Rohn, “there are two ways to have the tallest building in town. One is to build it and one is to tear everything else down around you.” We want to be builders and we want to share that building and growth with those around us in our industry. You see, the beauty of our clients is that there is literally a new potential client born every single minute. So there is plenty of work and there are plenty of unique people with specific gifts, talents and training who are just right to fill just the right job.
And because we want to be builders of bridges where none have existed, we have worked hard to help educate and clear up misunderstandings about exactly what a Newborn Care Specialist is and what one does. I recently wrote an article for the International Nanny Association on this topic (http://nanny.org/baby-nurse-vs-ncs/) but now it is time to take that a step further.
There is an amazing community of highly talented caregivers out there called Doulas. There are different types, but the two most common are Labor Doulas who educate and assist a laboring mother and there are Postpartum Doulas who help support a new family in what is often referred to as “The Fourth Trimester”. The Postpartum Doula has a role similar to a Newborn Care Specialist, but the focus is a little different. A Newborn Care Specialist focuses primarily on the care of the newborn infant(s) and meeting their needs, helping educate the new parents and helping get the new baby sleeping through the night in a healthy fashion. Most often the focus is on accomplishing this during the first 12-16 weeks, but not always. Newborn Care Specialists work with singletons, twins and more. They often work overnight or full 24 hours shifts and can be live-in or live-out. While Postpartum Doulas also provide baby care, their focus is more on educating and supporting the mother while she does the baby care, and they can and do often take on other tasks including helping with siblings, family errands and tasks, laundry, meal preparation and breastfeeding support. It is not that a Newborn Care Specialist cannot or does not do these things—in fact many are highly educated, some are even lactation educators and many offer these services to families as well. It is simply that their first task and focus is on the Newborn—the other is secondary.
And we are now also seeing a wonderful new phenomenon arise out of this—the hybrid. They are trained in both specialties and can offer both to families—sometimes doing only one or the other and sometimes a beautiful mix of both.
So why do I feel the need to share this? There has been and sadly continues to be some tension between the Newborn Care Specialist community and the Postpartum Doula community. But many of us would like to see that decline—even disappear, and so we have teamed up and are committed to building bridges between the two communities in order to uplift, support and encourage all who work in this amazing industry that is the in-home childcare industry. To that end, I am working with one of the leading Postpartum Doulas on the West Coast (Kimberly Bepler of ABC Doulas) to help create clarity for families about what the distinctions and similarities are so that each family can more accurately assess what their needs are and find the type of caregiver who is the perfect fit for their needs. Sometimes that is going to be a Newborn Care Specialist, sometimes a Postpartum Doula and sometimes a hybrid of the two. Kimberly and I have worked to create a quick “guide” to who does what, give parents an idea of costs and set a foundation for that building and take that step across the bridge to connect our two closely related communities.
Kimberly Bepler, IBCLC, ICPE, CPD is the owner and founder of ABC Doula Service and also trains doulas both in Oregon and all around the Northwest. She has worked extensively with families doing doula and lactation support for the past 15 years. She is a Certified Postpartum Doula and CAPPA Faculty Postpartum Doula Trainer, a Certified Postnatal Educator (ICEA) and a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC since 2011). Kimberly has been working with postpartum families since she had an infant of her own in 2000, and has a passion for newborns and their families. Since founding ABC Doula in 2001 she has seen the company grow to serve over 1500 families, and loves the collaboration of the team that has come together. Kimberly is the mother to two lively school-aged kids, and enjoys blending her jobs of educator, caregiver, and trainer along with parenting and trying to keep all the plates spinning!